League Two: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Luton Town 2
Luton Town returned to winning ways with a professional 2-0 victory at struggling Dagenham & Redbridge this afternoon, as they sent their opponents back to the bottom of the table.
With boss John Still and a whole host of Hatters’ players and management staff returning to their old stomping ground, goals from the old guard of Luke Guttridge and Alex Lawless ended Town’s worrying winless run of four games.
The visitors had made three changes to their side, surprisingly dropping joint leading scorer Cameron McGeehan to the bench.
He was joined by Dan Potts and Craig Mackail-Smith, replaced by Lawless for his first league start of the campaign, while Josh McQuoid and Scott Griffiths came in too.
With the fog rapidly descending on east London, there was precious little early action to speak of until Jack Marriott’s snapshot stung the palms of home keeper Liam O’Brien.
On 12 minutes, Marriott had an even better chance as a charged down clearance fell perfectly for him, but with time on his side, he opted to go for the spectacular and could only acrobatically volley off target.
McQuoid then sent an effort from range into the stands, while Daggers’ only effort of note an Ashley Hemmings blast from 20 yards failing to test Mark Tyler.
It was Marriott who was having all of Luton’s best moments as with 25 minutes gone, he rose highest to meet Guttridge’s free kick with his downward header palmed behind by O’Brien.
Cureton then showed he still has it at the grand old age of 40, receiving a ball to feet, twisting and turning Cuthbert, firing off a curler that Tyler back-pedalled to hold.
Marriot once again almost broke the deadlock as he picked Jack Connors’ pocket and raced away, his angled drive saved low down by O’Brien.
Lawless and Connors then saw yellow after the Daggers full back went through the back of the Luton man who reacted angrily to the challenge.
Smith tried his luck on the volley, his wonderful effort flying inches wide with O’Brien at full sretch.
Hatters then had the lead on 41 minutes when McQuoid hooked a clever ball over his shoulder and Guttridge produce da clever finish, toe-poking over O’Brien and into the net.
In the second period, Hatters looked to double their advantage swiftly as Lawless sent a delivery right across the six yard box with no-one there to apply the finishing touch.
Guttridge drew a decent stop out of O’Brien too, before Luton had a huge let-off as Marriott looked to have clearly fouled Joss Labadie in the area only for the official to book the Daggers midfielder for diving.
Then came the two minutes that decided the game as Ashley Hemmings picked up a loose ball to dissect the Town defence and race clear with just Tyler to beat but could only dink wide of the post.
With the warning shot fired, Luton then went straight up the other end to add a second when Marriott harried a Daggers defender and O’Brien, with the ball spilling clear to Guttridge.
He unselfishly rolled it across to Lawless who took a touch and slotted in his first goal of the season. It was Luton’s 18th away strike of the campaign too, already superseding last year’s tally on their travels of a meagre 17.
With boss Still leaving the dug-out after suffering from a migraine, the visitors swapped Marriott, who had run himself into the ground once more, for Craig Mackail-Smith, as Daggers briefly threatened a reply, Ashley Chambers lofting over.
Guttridge should really have had a second when Lawless’ hooked a swirling cross into the box and with no-one on him, the midfielder could only direct a free header over.
Daggers appeared content to persevere with their slow approach play despite the situation, as although Cureton sent one shot high and wide, Tyler’s quiet afternoon continued, as he kept first clean sheet on the road this term.
The result saw Luton climb a hefty five places in the league too as they had dropped down as low as 18th after yesterday’s matches.
However, they can now head into a fortnight break from League Two, sitting in 13th position, just four points off the play-offs and six away from the top three.
Daggers: Liam O’Brien, Jack Connors, Joss Labadie, Jamie Cureton, Ashley Chambers (C, Matt McClure 76), Jodi Jones (Jake Mulraney 50), Ashley Hemmings, Joshua Pask, James Dunne, Ayo Obileye, Justin Hoyte.
Subs not used: Mark Cousins, Nyron Nosworthy, Andre Boucaud, Kane Ferdinand, Josh Passley.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Sean Long, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Luke Wilkinson, Jonathan Smith,Nathan Doyle, Alex Lawless (Cameron McGeehan 87), Luke Guttridge, Josh McQuoid, Jack Marriott (Craig Mackail-Smith 68).
Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Paddy McCourt, Olly Lee, Dan Potts, Danny Green.
Attendance: 2,773 (1,083 Luton).
Booked: Lawless 34, Connors 34, Obileye 45, Labadie 57.
Referee: Keith Hill.
Hatters MOM: Luke Guttridge. Opening goal and an assist as he pulled the strings in the opponents half.